I know what I just said about not often being in the mood for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe it’s the temperament of the times, or maybe because “tis the season to rosé all day and sip white wine on the porch,” and I’m nothing if not a wine rebel. Hah. Anyway, the mood struck me for a classic Cabernet. And by “classic,” I mean a wine that is in keeping with its varietal character, in keeping with the stylistic expectations of the region—and so not fancy. Because, Friday, you know? Well, that’s when I reach for good old reliable Rutherford Ranch estate Cabernet.
About the Wine: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon; 8% Merlot; 3% Petite Sirah; 1% Malbec; 1% Petit Verdot
12 months in mixed French and American oak
Appearance: medium garnet
Aroma: Medium (+) aromas of rose, blackberry, black cherry, toast/char, tomato leaf, black currant, black plum, a hint of coffee, and a subtle hint of tobacco
Palate: The plate is dry with high alcohol, medium (+) tannins, medium (+) body, and medium (+) acid. The flavor intensity is also medium (+) with flavors including those aromas mentioned above, but enhancing both the toasty/charry/woody notes and the tobacco-ish notes as well as adding a bit of chocolate and a touch of prune.
The finish was medium (+) in length
Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I determined that this wine is good to very good. It showed great balance between the acidity (which kept those fresher fruit flavors alive), the tannins (which were at first a bit rough, but softened in texture over time and actually became quite plushy after about 60 minutes in the decanter), and the alcohol (which also provided a bit of body as well as gave the perception of just-over-ripeness of those fresher fruit notes). The aroma and flavor intensity were certainly present, and I found that, overall, the wine did have a certain element of complexity. Beyond being able to smell and taste the wine’s primary characteristics as well as those that came from time in barrel, I did get a sense of tertiary aromas—namely in those cooked and/or dried fruits. The only place the wine fell slightly short was in the length of the finish.
I know, in reality, one has to choose between good and very good (when writing for the WSET exam), however, here are my questions: Are those developed fruit aromas/flavors elements that already show just a touch of age? Or perhaps it is the ripeness of the fruits at harvest that also provided the higher level of alcohol that gave off those characteristics?
I’m still developing my tasting skills here…
In any event—whether you want to rate it good or very good—I will say that I did conclude that the wine has the potential to age further. Certainly the acidity and structure is present enough to withstand a bit of cellaring time.
More Info: I received the Rutherford Ranch 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon as a sample. (Cheers!) Price: $34. For more information about Rutherford Ranch, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Rutherford Ranch website.
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